The ancient philosophers Aristotle and Plato agree about philosophy's starting point:
It is owing to their wonder that [humans] both now begin and at the first began to philosophize. - Aristotle, Metaphysics
Wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder. - Plato, Theaetetus
So, as individuals and as a species, we have been drawn into philosophy by our sense of wonder at the world and our relations with it. But philosophy moves on from its starting point by using thought to reflect on and to investigate our wonderment. What is the upshot of this process of thinking?
The Department of Philosophy's teaching and research spans the main areas of analytic philosophy. The focus tends to be thematic rather than historical. Graduate study in philosophy is an opportunity for you to pursue your interests in the subject in far more depth. With your enhanced understanding will come independence; rather than simply forming a grasp of the standard positions in a debate you will begin formulating and justifying your own views and finding your own questions. Our different graduate programmes aim to take you from an undergraduate familiarity with the subject to being an independent researcher.
Why choose graduate study in philosophy? The answer, in short, is: because you have a profound interest in the subject and perhaps the potential to make a contribution to it. Philosophy graduates have gone on to work in a variety of areas, occupying posts in law (corporate, mediation, prosecution, defence); computing (artificial intelligence, expert systems design); university or college teaching; senior management; legislative policy; medical ethics; journalism; and film and media.